The Panza Connection

This new corruption angle regarding Sheriff Ken Jenne was made understandable by Wanda J. DeMarzo this morning in the Miami Herald. Basically King Ken was given $10,000 to help his developer Phil Procacci get his money back from a failed business venture. The implication is that Jenne was using his muscle as sheriff to have such an influence.

That's interesting, but there's another name that comes up that I think is crucial in understanding why Ken Jenne is truly a despicable public servant: Tom Panza. The lobbyist and longtime Jenne crony was also hired by Procacci for help. At the same time this was happening, Jenne hired Panza on the public dime to investigate ... Jenne. That's right -- the sheriff's office paid Panza more than $1.2 million in taxpayers' money to write up a whitewash regarding his involvement in the Powertrac scandal (remember that old chestnut?). Read about that sordid mess here.

The moonlighting stuff and the deals with Procacci are unclean, that's for sure, but it's the Panza connection that I have always felt proved that Jenne is truly a scroundrel when it comes to the public trust. The Panza connection is deeper than the Procacci thing could ever be and that $1.2 million is ill-gotten political booty that should be a big part of the criminal case. Maybe it is.

(The Sentinel's front page, meanwhile, was dominated by the deputy shooting, which is surely a horrendous tale worthy of extensive coverage. The giant headline reads "Sheriff: Shooting suspect hung targets on wall." The problem with this is that everybody already knew it yesterday. Talk about morning leftovers.)